New York City - Day Two

New York Travel Blog

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I got up fairly late on my second day and headed into Midtown for some more sightseeing. I took the subway to Grand Central Station, bought a toasted sandwich from a cafe, and took it to Bryant Park to eat. I got one of the little green tables near the edge of the lawn, which was closed for the afternoon. The weather was pretty much spot on perfect. On the way out there was a band playing at the east end of the park.

After leaving Bryant Park I walked down to take an open top bus tour of the main highlights of downtown New York. I picked up my ticket inside the Madame Tussauds lobby and went around the corner into Times Square and waited for the bus. I had to wait for a second bus because the first one was too full to fit all the waiting people on board. I noticed there were a lot more Gray Line buses of the same kind going around, so maybe they would have been a better choice. I got a window seat (though being open top there were no windows) near the front. We did a big loop down all the way through to the financial district and then back up again, it took about two and a half hours. The guide on the microphone at the front gave us a lot of information about the places we were going by so for me it was worth it even though I was being a hopeless cliche of a tourist!

I got off the bus back where it started at Times Square and then started to walk back up to the Rockefeller Center to go to the Top of the Rock observation deck, which is about 70 floors high. As I was heading out of Times Square a guy on the street managed to get my attention to buy his stand up comedy ticket by quoting some Australian comedians that I had happened to have seen live back home. He sold me an open ticket for $20 to go to Comic Strip Live, which is the famous comedy club with the brick wall behind the comedians where Jerry Seinfeld and many others started.

At the Top of the Rock there was a short video at the start talking about the building. The lift itself had a transparent roof so you could see yourself flying up to the top, which I thought was a cool touch. At the top you get off at an indoors floor where you see out windows, then there is an observation deck with high perspex barriers, and then another observation deck a floor up from that, but inward of the edge of the building where it is just an open top out to the city. The view was great, you can see all the way downtown past the Empire State Building to the end of Manhattan, and get a glimpse of the not-actually-that-big Statue of Liberty. The other way up you get a great view up Central Park and the Upper East and West Sides.

When I was done at the top I headed back down the lift and walked back to Bryant Park for a showing of the classic James Bond movie Goldfinger. During summer they play a classic movie there every Monday evening. I got in the bag check line just as they opened the lawn up at 5:30pm. There was a big line of people around the edge of the lawn and they all sprinted in to the middle to claim the best spots with their blankets. Once I got through the check not long later I meandered through and parked myself in a pretty good but small spot on the grass. The problem then was that I now had to wait until 9pm for the movie to actually start! I spent the time mostly reading my book until a couple of New York girls sat next to me and offered me part of their blanket. I talked to them for a while, and they seemed genuinely baffled as to why I would want to travel around the world. In turn I was genuinely baffled at that.

The movie started on a huge projector screen at 9pm to the huge applause of everyone. I saw the movie many years ago but had basically forgotten it, so it was almost as if I was watching it for the first time. It was very funny to watch - it was very classic Bond. After the movie finished and having been sitting there for five and a half hours I headed back to the hostel for the night.
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photo by: herman_munster